Hat on Top, Coat Below


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Hair Issues

June 17, 2003

In what passes for a day of beauty at my house, Sunday I painted my fingernails while I wrote morning pages and had Mr. Karen trim about six inches off my hair after breakfast. I swear I was not copying Pamie’s haircut idea; I was way overdue for a trim, as the scraggly ends in this before shot show quite clearly. (I am also not putting the clippings up for auction, since if I have fans devoted enough to buy my hair, I do not want to know about it). I know I should get trims more often, but it’s just not something that’s a priority for me. Sure, I might notice how I have to loop even the tiny elastics many times in order to hold my braid together and think how it would be good to get those thin and tired ends chopped off, but then I move on to other thoughts and it’s another six or eight or ten months or longer before I get around to actually doing something about my pitiful ends. This time, it was thinking about going to Toronto and meeting new people with my tired old hair that spurred me into action, except Mr. Karen was getting ready for his big Colorado kayaking trip just then and not available to wield the scissors until he got back. Go to SuperCuts or Fantasic Sams and pay someone else to do it? That’s just crazy talk. There’s no reason to spend money on something that’s so quick and easy to do at home for free. But really, it’s not the money, it’s the fact that I’m so out of my element in barber/beauty shops. I am convinced that everyone there would be looking at me and thinking, “Why doesn’t she get a real hairstyle?”

I tried that once, getting a real hairstyle. As a Christmas present one year in college, my mom got me (at my request), a trip to the beauty salon for a true haircut. I thought it was about time I got a grown up look; I was probably all of 20 years old at the time. I ended up with a shoulder length bob with long bangs that swept over to one side. It looked really good when I left the salon after half an hour of styling. It looked okay the rest of vacation, when I had plenty of time to spend on my hair. Once I got back to school, it looked less and less good as time went on. I had an internship at Touche Ross that winter, and it was hard enough to get up and get to work on time without adding in the time needed to style my hair. I usually resorted to French braiding the back and tucking the ends under the braid and just curling my bangs, plastering them in place with lots of hairspray. I had neither the time nor the money to find a place to get it trimmed professionally, so I cut my bangs myself. Yeah, that was a great idea. I am very glad that very few pictures of me were taken during this time. I didn’t go back to the salon when I was home for spring break. I let the bangs grow out after a while and went back to having Mom trim the ends. Mr. Karen took that duty over after we got married, and I’ve had no real urge to do anything different with my hair in years.

Now that I’m in my 40’s, maybe it’s time to think about changing my look, getting a hairstyle that will distract from my aging face and neck. As it is, I wear my hair pulled back most of the time, putting my nascent wrinkles on full display. It’s just so easy, though. I spend at most five minutes on my hair in the mornings, including blow drying it. I don’t have to gel it or spray it or mousse it (is mousse still around, even?) or use a special brush or a curling iron. I really don’t know what style my fine, thin hair would take to. I do know I like not having to think about my hair, just braid it and leave it. Plus, with long hair, I do have options, even if I rarely use them. I can fire up the Richard Caruso steam rollers and go big if I want (well, I can if the foam rubber hasn’t disintegrated in the years since I last used them). I can do a chignon or ponytail or even pigtails. I like having choices. I’m afraid if I got a short style that it wouldn’t look any better than long and I’d be stuck with that look. Sure, it would grow out eventually, but in the meantime, I’d have to struggle with it, and I’m not ready to risk it. So for now, this is as short as I’m going.


A year ago, it was all about crying over nothing.

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